After a fee hike holiday lasting nearly five years, the school district administration is proposing that fees for rental of school facilities by community groups be increased by approximately 7.7 percent across the board. The first reading of the proposal is on the agenda for the school board's .
In her staff report, Superintendent Connie Hubbard explains that fee hikes were suspended as a way to say thank you to the Piedmont community for supporting the seismic safety bond measure passed in 2006 and the emergency parcel tax measure passed in 2009, which have meant additional taxes for households in the district.
The proposed 7.7 percent increase makes up for lost time, equalling the total combined increase in the San Francisco Bay Area Consumer Price Index over the past five years.
The fees would still be well below market rate (see attached document). Renting with lights, for example, would cost $52.25 an hour while market rate is listed at $91.50. Under state law school districts are prohibited from turning a profit on facility rentals and are only allowed to recover direct operating costs. Those costs don't include maintenance such as turf replacement.
The fee schedule includes the addition of several newly available facilities: the sound system in the Piedmont Middle School multi-purpose room could be rented for $20 an hour, the pole vault and shot put areas at Witter could be rented for $12 an hour each, and the new playfield at Havens Elementary School could be rented for $25.25 an hour.
The school district expects facilities fees to generate $70,000 in revenue in 2011-2012, the same amount projected in the current year's budget. Assistant Superintendent Michael Brady said in prior years rentals have brought in closer to $65,000 on average, but the district got a bump this year from a pilot program allowing . That program is up for review next November.
The proposed fee schedule doesn't include any change to the district's policy of not charging the city of Piedmont for facilities use. The city in turn does not currently charge the district for use of its facilities, although that as a possibility for the future, especially with city taking over operations of the municipal pool this summer.